As India's biggest COVID-19 vaccination drive gets underway across 3000 centres, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday, questioned the government if the vaccine will be provided free of cost to poor Indians. Changing his stance on vaccines, the ex-Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav has welcomed the nationwide inoculation, while questioning if the Uttar Pradesh government is prepared. From saying "I will not get vaccinated in this BJP vaccine", Yadav has now questioned even the US-manufactured Pfizer vaccine, which has already been rolled out in US, UK, Israel etc -but not in India.
"I am happy that the Centre has started the vaccination drive and the concerns raised by us has been spread by BJP. We have no issues with doctors, but when will the vaccine be available to the poor? Will it be free for the poor? We wish to know from the Centre till when will all be vaccinated and will it free for all?," he said at a Lucknow press conference.
Referring to 23 fatalities of elderly people who died after receiving the Pfizer vaccine, he said,"Experts are saying one must be very careful while administering the vaccine. I ask UP government, are your doctors, technicians trained enough? Do we have information on this? We have come to know that funds have not reached to vaccine centres. Hence UP govt must be careful and must take experts in confidence while vaccinating. If sufficient funds have reached centres and all logistics are being taken care of, we have no issues."
Previously, Akhilesh Yadav, said that 'I will not get vaccinated - that too on BJP's vaccine (COVID-19), as I don't trust it, at a press conference in Lucknow. He also added that his government comes to power, the vaccine will we be provided free - 'not BJP's vaccine'. His comments were condemned by BJP, but did find backing in some Opposition politicians.
Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker in Delhi, became the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in India after PM Modi flagged off the nationwide vaccination drive on Saturday, in the presence of Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan at AIIMS Delhi. PM Modi launched the nationwide vaccine drive on Saturday via videoconferencing and congratulated the people of India on getting two 'Made in India' vaccines. With a limit of 100 beneficiaries per centre, vaccination drive is underway in 3006 locations, inoculating 3 lakh health workers in the 'world's biggest vaccine programme'. The government has already purchased 1.1 crore COVISHIELD vaccine doses and 55 lakh COVAXIN vaccine shots - aiming to vaccinate 3 crore frontline warriors, in the first phase.